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Case study: Sheffield Hallam University


Sheffield Hallam University


Founded in 1843 as the Sheffield School of Design, Sheffield Hallam University has a powerful impact on the city, region, nation and world. Today they are one of the UK’s largest and most diverse universities, supporting more than 30,000 students - 10% of which are international students. 

Winners of the Times Higher Education Awards 2022 ‘Outstanding contribution to the local community’, and named ‘University of the Year for social mobility’ at the 2021 UK Social Mobility Awards, it is Sheffield Hallam’s mission to transfer lives. 53% of students are first in family to attend university and 23% are from low participation neighbourhoods. 

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Sheffield Hallam University offers over 7,000 courses; they are one of the country's biggest trainers of health care staff for the NHS, train approximately 1,000 teachers a year, and home to the largest modern business school in the country. Their National Centre of Excellence for Degree Apprenticeships has the biggest portfolio of degree apprenticeships in the UK and they are soon to open a new campus site in London offering degree-level courses. 

Why Studiosity?

Sheffield Hallam University students are from many varied backgrounds, including a large commuter cohort, that often need additional support and additional help. With out-of-hours support being the number one request from students, the university needed to look at other ways of providing 24/7 support, in addition to their existing ‘core hours’ offering via the central skills centre and skills team.

During 2020, the pandemic clearly threw up a set of unprecedented challenges for the entire sector, with many students being forced out of the study mindset for months. Studiosity was one of the tools used by Sheffield Hallam University to help to re-engage students and develop their online learning skills, considered by the university as key to their longer term success.

Collaboration & Outcomes
 Studiosity services were also implemented by Sheffield Hallam University to align with their access and participation plan. The university combined their internal data alongside Studiosity data, in order to best define the cohort, support those most at risk of not proceeding with their studies, and ultimately improve retention rates. There is a clear and definite alignment between the university goals and Studiosity’s mission; the program aims to be as inclusive and accessible as possible, with the provided data from Studiosity forming part of a complete picture of who is seeking help and how they are progressing with their studies - allowing for example, specific focus on male students who are recognised as being less likely to seek help.

Jennifer Fearon, Head of Skills has been instrumental in helping to create a successful partnership with Studiosity and stresses the essential collaborative approach “...part of the work that we've been doing over the last three years with Studiosity is for students to understand that it's very much a part and parcel of our academic skills development. "

Key Performance Measures
Sheffield Hallam University was one of the first innovators in the UK to offer 24/7 study support via Studiosity, beginning the partnership in 2017, offering Writing Feedback and Connect Live services to their first years. In the subsequent year they widened out access to the entire student cohort; from first year to final year of study, across all courses. For the 2021/2022 academic year, they also offered the peer-to-peer service Student Connect, to all Level 4 students. 
Student Satisfaction
  • Writing Feedback: 94% satisfaction across 49,068 documents submitted and returned
  • Connect Live: 81% satisfaction across 1,253 sessions with a Specialist
  • Student Connect: 82% satisfaction across 117 peer-to-peer study help sessions
  • 9 hours average Writing Feedback return time

Over the entire duration (Dec 2017 - Jun 2022) of the Sheffield Hallam University/Studiosity partnership:
  • Over 12,565 students have used the service
  • 50% of students seek help out-of-hours (outside of 9 am - 5 pm)
  • 21% of student seek help during weekends

What do students say?

The service allows students to provide feedback each time they use the service. Here is a selection of comments provided by Sheffield Hallam students:

“Good explanation on ways to improve and also on what has been done well.”  Writing Feedback - Postgraduate

“Super happy with this feedback. It was so detailed on both strengths and weaknesses. Big confidence booster and a better understanding on the structure mistakes I often make. Big thanks to Olivia for her time.”  Writing Feedback - 1st Year Undergraduate

“The person who I talked to was brilliant. She had explained what I needed to do so well. I was feeling really anxious, however now I am not.”  Connect Live - 3rd Year Undergraduate

Thank you so much you are a lifesaver!”  Connect Live - 1st Year Undergraduate

“Very helpful, feeling more confident for my report now. Will definitely use this service again if everyone else is as helpful as her!”  Student Connect - 1st Year Undergraduate

“Molly was a great help! I was really stuck and couldn't figure out how to go about this task. I feel more confident and have a better understanding on how to both tackle and answer this question. I really appreciate the help!!!”  Student Connect - 1st Year Undergraduate


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